Friday, August 15, 2008

Finally, I get to be a Magician!

Sera Beak, the Spiritual Cowgirl, comes up with some fun links. The latest posted in her blog is "Which Tarot card are you?" (I know you'll love this Diana!) The test claims I am the Magician.

You are The Magician

Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, depending on dignity.

Eloquent and charismatic both verbally and in writing, you are clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.

The Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud. Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand and a medicine man - either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.

I'd have to agree that since moving to San Diego, it certainly seems as if I can manifest things out of thin air. I'm continually in awe of what has come my way the day after I've given it thought. I've always believed in creating my own reality and I've recognized my skill in manifestation before, but in the past it took time. SD must be some kind of optimal place for me, as my ability to bring what I want into my life has definitely been accelerated.

I've been told I'm clever, witty, and inventive, so I can believe those parts as well.

In contrast, I don't agree with the "salesman" description in this assessment. I don't see myself as that kind of person at all, although I easily recognize those that are. I'll have to dig a little deeper in the psyche to figure out why that would be in my cards.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Most people's fascination with magic seems to wane as they pass out of childhood. Adults become skeptical, practical, jaded. I've got my own healthy dose of those qualities, but not when it comes to magic. I still believe it's a real thing, and that there are people (human or otherwise) who can perform fantastical transformations of energy into form. Not that they are going to TELL anyone they can do that because good lord, you'd be abducted by the CIA that night and tested and tortured and poked and prodded within an inch of your life (or less). Cripes, I'm sure it happens all the time. Governments are full of coyotes and curiosity will kill more than Schroedinger's cat.

Ever wonder about that magician's oath? They are very serious about keeping their secrets among those that are in the business of illusion and enchantment (two of my favorite words). Sometimes I wonder if perhaps it's because some of them really ARE at a level of manipulating the elements. (That's when Logical Left Brain goes "PFFSSHHH. You are NUTS. How old are you?" So Right Brain grabs my tongue, sticks it out at Left Brain, then sulks for a week muttering "I am NOT acting like a six year old. It IS real. I KNOW it. It's just that no one will ADMIT it. Humph.")

Anyway, I also subscribe to the opinion that whatever may be considered "magic" is just physics we can't explain yet, but that doesn't make it any less magical. Think of it this way: if someone from the 1500s were transported through spacetime to our world today (not hard to imagine since Hollywood has covered this idea pretty well!), would they not see cars, movies, electricity, and the very technology I'm using right now to communicate as magic? We don't consider it so mystical because we've learned how it works (for the most part). But we are such a teeny tiny part of the Universe - there are so many processes and events and happenings out there we can't explain - hence, magic. (And Right Brain says, "HA! SO THERE!" Then it's Left Brain's turn to sulk.)

When I was a child my aunt had a friend, Daniel, who was a professional magician (maybe still is). Every time my aunt babysat I would BEG to go visit Daniel because he couldn't resist practicing his skills on the very willing subject of Me. I would ask him to do tricks over and over trying to figure out how he did them, but I couldn't catch him.

As I've grown up I've continued to attract magicians in my life as friends, and I still watch very closely trying to catch how they do their tricks but really, I don't want to know. I don't want to catch them or the illusion is ruined. I love that I can still be fooled by slight of hand and misdirection. Once in awhile one of them will go against their oath and offer to show me how they do it, but I always refuse (which is probably why they offer). I don't really want to know because that takes the wonder out of it. Sure, I feel smart when I figure out one of their conjurings (and they know that's the one they need to work on!), but then I can never again enjoy the wide-eyed feeling of disbelief that provides the thrill of their performance. It takes the fun out of it.

How many other things in life do we take the fun out of with our need to know "How?" and "Why?", instead of just enjoying the awe-someness of reality?

A hui hou, my friends. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Music to my Ears

I admit I’ve gotten completely distracted and off track from work today listening to new music on MySpace. One click leads to another… and another… and another… and all these people ROCK and suddenly it’s two hours later and I've done nothing but fill my head with awesomeness. Which would be great if I could get my electric and internet connection for a song. Who knew there was so much hidden music talent in San Diego? Why aren’t these people all selling out arenas yet (well, besides Jason Mraz)?

This started because I’ve been really diggin’ Dawn Mitschele’s voice these past several days. I first checked her out after seeing Bushwalla’s new music video for Mayhem is Beautiful. I knew Bushwalla from listening to Mraz of course. Funny how it's all connected, yeah?

From Dawn’s MySpace page, I clicked on Jason Ford’s profile by happy accident and found a song called Mi Lelolai A Mi Yaweh. Go ahead and try that out loud.

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Somehow they actually sing it – fast! – in the song and it’s very melodic. Those 13 plays recorded on MySpace for it today? Half was probably me. :D

I noticed Ford’s page says his record label is StepsTone, and I thought that was a pretty clever name. They have a MySpace page too, and from there I found the link to their web site, and a list of the people who have recorded with them (“Clients” on the bottom menu – no direct link, sorry!), complete with song samples. How awesome! This is how the two hours starts slipping away.

Seems StepsTone has a knack for picking people I’d like to hear more of. Perhaps they just never agree to record with a crappy artist? I dunno. They certainly seem to have the Midas touch when it comes to talent. Or perhaps they just pick the best to showcase on their site. My friend, Jason Demetri, has a recording studio in Austin, TX called Music Lane and I know just from a business perspective you don’t turn away anyone offering you money to use your studio unless you have a bigger better offer (like Sheryl Crow – woohoo! Go Jason!). So surely they’ve had their share of "ehhh" artists? Well anyway…

Your ears deserve to be graced by the following:

Kyle Phelan:

Cameron Russell:

John Hull:

Martin Storrow (if you lean towards a more country persuasion):

Just to bring things full circle, when I was looking up the link to Music Lane's client list, who do I find but BOB SCHNEIDER. Holy cow it's a small world. I'm surprised Bob's not holding it up to the camera.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Every Little Thing's Gonna Be Alright

Check this out - I bought this hibiscus at Home Depot when I first moved into the condo. It was in the 50% off section because it was half dead. Yes, I'm that much of a sucker for a rescue - even my plants are hardship cases! I've always wanted a hibiscus because I think the flowers are so beautiful. They make me think of Hawaii (even tho I haven't been there yet) and peaceful, happy people, and all the good things in the world. They attract hummingbirds too, and we have a lot of those around here. (Hummingbirds represent joy to the Native Americans.) I couldn't afford the full grown patio tree kind, but this one was only a few bucks and I figured, hey, they grow, right?

I gave it an elegant new pot and it's been living on the patio, just on the other side of the wall from Wilbur's cage. I haven't been out there to water the plants all weekend because of taking care of Wil, and pet sitting for a family in Vista. So today I go out there to give everyone a drink and there's this big beautiful bloom on my hibiscus!

I like to think this is Mother Nature's way of sending condolence flowers. It definitely made me smile and feel a bit better.

And then there were five...

I haven’t really known what to write the past couple days. I’ve had a couple good ideas, some profound thoughts, but I forget what they were faster than I make it to the keyboard. I was trying to find something other than whining about current circumstances, but this weekend has been really tough and just ended in a shitty way, so here it is. Let’s get this done so I can move on.

Wilbur (one of the chinchillas) is sick, and all I hear in my head is “Attachment creates suffering.” While I know it’s true, it kind of pisses me off in this case because how can you NOT be attached to a pet? There are times when it totally sucks to have “heightened awareness” or whatever name you want to slap on it because it’s like living a duality where logic fights emotion and your brain is just miserable in the crossfire.

I accept that I will outlive my pets and death is part of having pets, but it’s much easier to accept death when it comes due to old age, or something that’s out of your control (like a disease). When your own decisions decide the fate of an innocent animal, there’s a lot of potential for guilt. And one of my annoying faults is that I’m really good at feeling guilty.

Wednesday night when I fed the chins, I noticed Wilbur (same chinnie that escaped in the hotel room) hadn’t eaten much the day before, and there was less poop than normal going on. Not eating is bad. Not pooping is worse. I took him to the vet on Thursday and the vet said he was bloated and might have a blockage in his intestines. He gave Wil an injection of fluids to avoid dehydration, and some oral medicine that was supposed to get his gut tract working again. Chinnie digestive systems need to keep moving, like a fish needs to swim to stay alive.

Friday there was very little poop and no eating at all, but Wilbur was still alert and obviously mentally there. I took him in for another fluid injection, and asked the Vet if he thought there was any hope of Wil making it through this or if I should put him down now. I wasn’t trying to jump the gun, I just didn’t want Wil to suffer and I knew what his odds were. I was trying to be realistic and not let my emotions govern my actions.

Vet said there wasn’t a lot of hope, but that he’d give it one more day to turn around. We discussed Xrays and surgery options, but Vet emphasized that the results were probably not going to be worth the cost; meaning I could rack up a huge debt and Wilbur still had very slim chances of survival.

So now my brain is firing at me: What price, Life?

I had my doubts about the cost vs. benefits scenario, but decided to take his advice – again, trying to keep emotion out of it and be reasonable.

One more day meant Saturday tho, which translates to short hours at the vet office, and no vet at all on Sunday, which was risky. I agreed anyway and paid the bill, effectively emptying my bank account of everything I had for the next two weeks. Fine. I can eat Ramen noodles like a college kid. Just fix my chinchilla.

Friday night I did a lot of research online and found one thing the vet hadn’t suggested: you can give chinnies an over-the-counter pediatric remedy to alleviate gas in their system. I ran out to CVS at midnight to get that and gave some to Wil. He looked a little better Saturday morning. He hopped away from me when I opened the door, there were a few tiny poops in the cage, and he had peed. The vet closed at noon so I had to make a decision – being optimistic, I decided to continue giving him the meds and try to make it to Monday.

Of course, as soon as the vet is absolutely no longer available, that’s when they take a nose dive. I don't know what made me think this time would be different. Wilbur’s stomach felt like a balloon Saturday night and this morning when I picked him up he was shaking – probably from pain. Now I’m thinking I made a bad decision and I feel AWFUL and helpless that he’s forced to endure this.

I called California Vet Services, the place every vet office within 20 miles of here refers you to for emergencies, and they want over $200 to let him out of his misery, mostly because they insist he has to have an exam since he’s never been there before, and of course that fee is elevated because it’s a Sunday. I’m like “HE’S DYING. I don’t need a vet to tell me that, I need someone to help this animal out of his pain as soon as possible.” They don’t give a shit. They just want their money.

So I called an emergecy clinic in Temecula, which is about 30 minutes north of here instead. That clinic is more reasonable in price, but they want it up front and I’ve got nothing in the bank.

SERIOUSLY, who is in it for the money, and who is in it to help a fucking animal in pain? I’m astounded at people’s dedication to rules in place of their HUMAN DECENCY.

I called the humane society and could only find recorded messages that all the staff was busy helping other people.

I called ChinWorld to enlist their help since they have a large herd and are on personal terms with their vet and they are extremely nice people. As the Universe would have it, the vet is not answering his cell phone. I wait. He finally calls a couple hours later, but he can’t offer much help or advice.

What really gets me is from everything I’ve read, bloat should be fixable. If it’s impaction (a blockage) there should be surgery that can be done to remove the problem. I’m not sure why my vet was so reluctant to follow the surgery route other than the cost, and then, again… why is cost an issue? If I’m willing to work out payments, even if it’s stupid of me to do, why would you advise against doing everything you can to help this animal live? Would he have said the same if it was a dog? Frustrating thoughts – all of them.

It is not my vet’s fault that Wilbur is in pain and dying though. I finally decide something has to be done NOW, no matter the cost, so I pack Wil up in the car and head to the Temecula emergency place.

I’m headed up the 15 at 90 MPH and I cannot EVEN believe that of ALL the fucking times for the Border Patrol to be stopping cars, here they are with four lanes of red lights across the highway. God had some mercy left though because just as I rolled up to the stopped cars, they turned all the lights green again.

It’s about this time that Wilbur starts bubbling up fluid from his nose and making horrible choking noises. Every gasp is wringing my heart out and I swear to fucking God I will never again a) NOT insist on an XRay, and b) let them talk me out of things because of cost.

I get to the clinic and have to enlist the help of a very sympathetic, loud Mexican woman to get a receptionist to come out front. Then they want me to fill out paperwork. Wilbur is obviously in HUGE distress at this point and I am trying to write legibly through my tears and begging them to PLEASE just take him in the back and do the deed – they can have my entire wallet and I promise not to sue them because the paperwork wasn’t finished when he died. She looks in the cage and finally says “just sign the bottom” and off he went.

It is definitely the most dramatic and upsetting exit any of my animals have made. I sat in the Jeep in the parking lot and cried for 30 minutes, then talked to Mark for another 30 minutes before I felt like I could drive safely. I’ve got an enormous headache, and it was a very shitty ending to a very shitty weekend.

On the way home it occurred to me that I should’ve asked for his body back so my vet could do a necropsy and figure out what happened. I called a friend that works at a vet’s office and asked her if it was worth going back for and she said probably not because the tissues deteriorate too fast. I did call the emergency place when I got home though and discussed the whole thing with the on-call vet (much more calmly) to try to find out what she thought it was. She thought heart failure with fluid on the lungs. Apparently the amount of fluids that came out in the end would indicate such a thing.

I can at least take that info back to my vet tomorrow and see what he thinks. Maybe we can piece it together, maybe not.

I sure do miss Wil, and I hate the way he went. He was 7 years old. At least his last 5 ½ years were spent in total pampering. And I’ve tried to focus on being thankful that I still have three healthy chinnies, and a healthy iguana, and a gecko that’s almost 16 years old. It’s just so damn hard when they leave. It doesn’t matter how many you have, and how many times you go through it, it never gets easier.

Goodnight my freckled-y eared boy. I hope Earl and Zeus met you on the other side. I sure am glad you don’t have any more pain and you’re completely perfect once again.